UK-Israel trade tops £2.5billion despite Gaza conflict

UK-Israel trade tops £2.5billion despite Gaza conflict

Trade between Israel and the UK has topped £2.5 billion and Israeli exports have risen by over 38 percent since the start of the year, new figures show.

Statistics released by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics reveal that bilateral trade between the two allies has grown at a rapid rate, despite efforts by some ministers to push for an arms embargo on Israel following the war in Gaza.

Of the total, £1.6 billion comes in the form of Israeli exports to the UK, with just less than £1 billion going the other way. After the United States, the UK is now Israel’s biggest export market.Israel Embassy No 10 13079

Despite the upward projection, two-way trade is still some way off its 2012 peak, when over £3.85 billion of goods were traded, as were a further £2 billion of services.

But the overall trend was positive, officials said, with bilateral trade doubling since 2009, which outgoing Economic and Trade Minister at the Embassy Noah Shani described as “unprecedented”.

A general upturn in market conditions has also played a role in this year’s figures, businessmen said.

“We’ve seen successful Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) of Israeli businesses on the London Stock Exchange this year and we see a strong pipeline of further businesses looking to list in London,” said Hugo Bieber of UK Israel Business.

The Israeli embassy in London said the figures “underline the strong business ties” between the two countries, with ongoing efforts to schedule networking events and conferences in the fields of security, water, energy and medical technology.

The news will be a boon to those resisting efforts by pro-Palestinian activists to push for a consumer boycott of a variety of companies over their links with Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Among those recently calling for a “full economic boycott” of Israel was a group of 327 Holocaust survivors and their descendents.

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